Accidentally voiding your insurance policy can be expensive – and it’s a lot easier than you might think
In order to legally drive pretty much everywhere in the U.S., you need car insurance. But car insurance isn’t a one-sided deal – it’s a bargain, with parts that both sides (you and your insurer) need to uphold. If you don’t keep your end of the bargain, even by accident, you could easily find yourself without insurance, and that can be an expensive predicament.
Avoiding accidentally voiding your policy is as much about knowing what not to do as knowing what you should do. However, as long as you avoid doing the things below and check with your insurer about new changes and updates to your policy, you’ll have a pretty good chance of keeping your policy right where you want it: not void.
Being less than honest with your car insurance company
On a daily basis, drivers seeking insurance make up a variety of lies about their car to their insurance company, misrepresenting everything from the number of miles their car has, to its make, year, model, and how many people regularly drive it. More serious misrepresentations might involve a driver lying about their past criminal record, accidents they’ve been in, or whether they use the car for a driving-heavy business, such as pizza delivery or a courier service. While these might seem like “white lies,” if you’re caught, you could lose your entire policy – and that’s much more expensive than the small amount of money you’d likely save from the lies themselves.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
From documentary films and TV shows, to radio and television PSAs and websites, state and federal governments and safety groups have been warning Americans for years to avoid driving under the influence. If the chance of hurting or killing innocent drivers or pedestrians and the potential for prison isn’t enough to dissuade you, the fact that you’ll likely lose your car insurance might. In fact, after a DUI or DWI, you might not just be kicked off your insurance, you might find it impossible to get car insurance from any company at all. And if you do, the prices are likely to be sky high. Since it’s illegal to drive without car insurance in the vast majority of states, that means it could become illegal for you to drive for a long time, even years after you get back your license.
Making changes to your vehicle without telling your insurer
We know, those massive rims are sweet and it sure would be fun to lower your car till the rear bumper hits the road, but your insurance company likely doesn’t feel the same way. In many cases, modifications done without consulting your insurance company could lead them to denying you coverage if you get into an accident, especially if they feel that the changes increased the riskiness of the vehicle. That doesn’t mean you can never modify your car, but it does mean that you should always check with your insurer first to see how it will impact your policy. While getting your car turbocharged may sound like a great deal, it may no longer be attractive if it raises your car insurance rates by another hundred dollars a month or causes you to lose your policy entirely.
Not paying your premiums
This might sound obvious, but some people are surprised that their car insurance company won’t pay after they’ve forgotten a few car insurance payments. How would you feel if your boss forgot to pay you for a few periods and then asked you to do some overtime? Probably not so great and your insurance company doesn’t like it either when you don’t pay, especially if you go over the allotted grace period. If you’re having serious financial trouble, contact your insurer before simply missing a payment; they may be able to downgrade your policy to something more affordable or work out a payment plan that allows you to pay off some of your premium balances at a later date. That can save you from an even worse situation if you get in an accident and need coverage.
Using your car for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Driving for a service like Uber or Lyft might be all the rage, but it’s a nightmare from an insurance perspective and could easily void your policy (as well as your car’s warranty). If you decide to keep driving Uber or Lyft anyway, consult carefully with your insurance company (and maybe even a lawyer). You may find that you need a commercial policy to make sure you’re completely covered and that could easily eat into the fast-slimming profit margins that many ridesharing drivers are already upset about.
Be careful, use common sense, and always check with your insurance company before making a big decision involving your vehicle
Car insurance isn’t a right; it’s a professional contact that can easily be voided by a driver’s actions. And while you might find yourself doing some of the above, do so at your own risk. Many things, such as having additional driver listed on your vehicle or making car modifications, won’t leave you uninsurable; you just have to ask your insurer for permission first and then (likely) pay an additional fee due to the additional risk the insurance company is taking on. Hey, it’s better than getting your policy voided!
To learn more about how to protect yourself from mistakes that could void your car insurance policy, contact Avante Insurance today for a free consultation.